Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoons - Shazam!

It was Spring 1975. I was 8 1/2 years old. Boy crazy already (as my friends would tell you). One of the guys who set the bar for many of my future crushes - that was Michael Gray.

Michael Gray played the character of Billy Batson on Shazam! - which was on Channel 15 (CBS), at 10:30 a.m. every Saturday morning.

It was his dark, unkept hair that made me think he was totally cute.

Oh yes - I was totally excited by the motorcycle too.

A couple of thoughts....

1) I would have really enjoyed seeing Michael Gray in tights - not these really old, middle-aged men who were generic-looking.

2) My gay-dar really comes out strong when I watch re-runs of this.

Spring 1975 Saturday Morning Cartoon Line-Up

From Wikipedia:

Shazam! was a half-hour live-action television program produced by Filmation (the animation studio's first such program), based upon DC Comics' superhero Captain Marvel. The show ran from 1974 to 1977 on CBS. Actor Michael Gray starred as young Billy Batson, while Captain Marvel was played first by Jackson Bostwick, and later by John Davey.

The television version of Shazam! was notably different from its source material. The wizard Shazam did not appear in the series; teenage Billy spoke directly to the elders that empowered him (all of whom were animated characters rather than actors): Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Instead of remaining in his hometown, Billy and his guardian "Mentor" (a doppelganger of sorts for the comics' Uncle Marvel, and played by Les Tremayne) were nomads, traveling around the country in a recreational vehicle. (Media promotion of the time explained that Batson had taken a leave of absence from his radio announcer's job, a circumstance that was also obliquely referenced in bits of dialogue from the series.)

The most fundamental element of the Shazam! mythos remained the same: when he spoke the magic word "Shazam!", Billy would be struck by a magic lightning bolt (via animation) and transformed into the World's Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel.


Anonymous said...

Michael Gray

ida said...

looks like the same mobile home that was on witch lake mountain movie. i might have watched this a couple of times. but i remember wonder woman. my dad and i would watch that show every weekend.